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Old 11-27-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Can I inoculate yeast slants from trub from the primary?

Hey all,

I am new to yeast ranching with only one batch under my belt, a set of London ale yeast slants that I took from a smack pack last week (the lids blew off during the week-lesson learned)..

Anyway, I am wondering if it is possible to culture yeast slants from the trub from the primary. I am racking today and have a nice 1056 yeast cake, but I don't plan on using the yeast anytime soon. I am wondering if I can inoculate slants from the trub for more long term storage. Any contamination concerns? Or should I only inoculate slants from a smackpack or vial? Thanks!

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Old 11-28-2010, 06:44 PM   #2
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What like this guy does? Or did you have something else in mind?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yea...strated-41768/

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Old 11-29-2010, 12:10 AM   #3
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What like this guy does? Or did you have something else in mind?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yea...strated-41768/
No, not like that. He's just saving the entire cake for repitching. I am referring to agar filled test tube slants that I can grow yeast on perpetually to build up a yeast library.
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:34 AM   #4
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Yes you're right contamination is a big issue. I can almost guarantee that there is some kind of bacteria in the yeast cake. Should be a very small amount. ( I'd say a million or less is safe.) But why even chance it. If you culture an contaminated batch you will always have bacteria in any yeast you grow from that culture. And unless your know how to do gram stains. You can't guarantee your culture is pure. It's not all bad though safe the yeast cake just in case. You never know if you need it in the future or not. But once you dump it it's gone. Hope I helped. Don't get discouraged I have 9 cultures and going strong!!!

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Old 11-29-2010, 11:14 AM   #5
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Well, there's no reason that when you're making the starter for the beer you can't just split the smack pack in half and make two starters -- one for the beer and one for your library. Right?

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Old 11-29-2010, 02:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GroosBrewz View Post
Hey all,

I am new to yeast ranching with only one batch under my belt, a set of London ale yeast slants that I took from a smack pack last week (the lids blew off during the week-lesson learned)..

Anyway, I am wondering if it is possible to culture yeast slants from the trub from the primary. I am racking today and have a nice 1056 yeast cake, but I don't plan on using the yeast anytime soon. I am wondering if I can inoculate slants from the trub for more long term storage. Any contamination concerns? Or should I only inoculate slants from a smackpack or vial? Thanks!
What is your time horizon for using the yeast? I have kept glycerol stocks in my deep freeze at home for over a year (-20 at lowest setting). The problem with slants is that they dry out...you have to keep re-plating them about every 4-6 weeks or so. Maybe less often if you keep them in a closed container with a wet sponge or something (but they have to "breath" as you found out already). For a large yeast library, re-plating could be a pretty time-consuming task.

Glycerol stocks will lose viability over their storage life, but if you are careful, they will keep a good long time. Making new stocks once a year is much better than around once a month.

I freeze my yeast stocks in 15% glycerol, using dry ice (to rapidly freeze them)...I found that faster freezing seemed to keep viability longer - no definitive data to back that up, just a feeling I got at one time when I was doing it.

On another note, making slants from the trub will probably work out O.K.. Make sure you do it around a heat source to keep the air currents flowing away from the tube. The number of bacteria in the trub should be very low compared to the yeast population. But, I agree with krops, there are some bacteria in there. One way to do it would be to dilute the trub significantly and streak the slant so that you get individual colonies. Any bacterial colonies may look out of place in comparison to the large number of yeast colonies. However, beware, as there are many bacterial colonies that look similar to saccharomyces in colony form.

Hope this helps,
PikledBill
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:23 PM   #7
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The problem with slants is that they dry out...you have to keep re-plating them about every 4-6 weeks or so. Maybe less often if you keep them in a closed container with a wet sponge or something (but they have to "breath" as you found out already). For a large yeast library, re-plating could be a pretty time-consuming task.
While I'm not saying that freezing is a bad idea, I'm curious as to why you say that slants dry out.

I wash some of my yeast and I slant others. I haven't had a problem with slants drying out in the 3 months since I started. I'm also not sure what you mean when you say they need to "breathe". Sure, it needs to vent until the yeast has grown at room temperature, but after you throw it in the fridge it doesn't need to breathe. In fact, I tape mine shut with electrical tape before I throw them in the fridge.

But back to the OP, I wouldn't slant off the trub. I'd wash the yeast, stick it in the fridge and make a starter when you're ready to brew.

Cheers!
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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While I'm not saying that freezing is a bad idea, I'm curious as to why you say that slants dry out.
Slants will dry out in the fridge and will not keep "indefinitely" at frdge temps.

Also, the more times you reculture/grow a yeast strain the more likely it is that mutations will change the basic underlying characteristics. In a small number of generations it is unlikely to happen, but if you expect to repropagate yeast many times over, this is not a safe assumption, IMO.

Freezing the yeast will keep it "indefinitely". How many slants are you going to manage and continue to monitor, regrow, and continuously care for? You could freeze a dozen or whatever tubes of yeast and either grow from scrapings of the yeast sample or by pitching the whole thing, but you don't have to regrow nearly as often (5, maybe 10 years if your techniques are sound and you have kept them frozen).

Neither method is right or wring, they are just different. IMO, if you have access to a chest freezer (or even better, you or a friend have access to a -80c freezer) on backup or very reliable power, I see no reason to even consider slants, but hey, some people like playing around with agar and tinkering with the yeast. IMO it just lends to more opportunity to contaminate/mutate/ruin the storage of said yeast.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:19 PM   #9
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Anyway, I am wondering if it is possible to culture yeast slants from the trub from the primary.
I would not innoculate the slants directly from the trub, but that's just me. If going from a media with suspended contaminants, you probably should streak it out on some plates and grow a small starter back up from there.

Preferable method is as others have stated, IMO. Go from smack pack or vial and split some portion straight away to a dedicated starter for propagation.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:54 AM   #10
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I have 1056 that I've been using almost a year now and I slanted it from a washed cake. I just streaked it earlier in the week and it's just fine. Bottom line is that you could have contamination, but there are ways to determine that before you use it.

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